Fatah-Hamas cancel meeting to form unity government
In the UK and international press today, several papers note that a high profile meeting between Fatah and Hamas was cancelled, causing a setback in plans to form a Palestinian unity government. In other news, all papers note the developments in Syria. Reuters notes that Syrian President Bashar Assad will address the country today, while the army in northwest Syria blocked refugees from fleeing the border into Turkey.
Over the weekend, the Sunday Times reported that the new leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri would focus his strategy of terrorism on Israel and the Middle East. The Financial Times carried a piece by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat calling for US President Barack Obama’s support for a Palestinian state ahead of the UN General Assembly vote in September.
In the Israeli press, Haaretz notes that the Israeli Navy will continue its preparations for a flotilla of ships that will set sail for Gaza, even though the main organisers and the Mavi Marmara ship have withdrawn from the event. All papers report that a high level meeting between Fatah and Hamas, which aimed to form a interim Palestinian unity government, was cancelled. The Jerusalem Post reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met yesterday with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov, and called on EU ministers to demand from the Palestinians the same expectations and pressure they place on Israel. Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post note that an Egyptian news website reported that Israel has offered a prisoner swap for the release of arrested US-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel currently detained in Egypt. The Jerusalem Post report that former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi criticized for the first time comments made by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, in regards to an attack on Iran.